If I asked, “How big is your gym?” you’d probably tell me how many members you have.

And if I asked, “How many members do you want?” you’d probably say, “More.”

But the reason you can’t get more could be that you already have too many. You’re trying to attract a number instead of looking at each person as an individual. This is the reason most digital marketing ultimately fails: You run some kind of special, attract 50 people and lose all of them.

Because you can’t look at the whole as a unit, you have to look at one person at a time.

 

Order of Operations

 

We teach gym owners how to help the clients in front of them best, and we call that operational excellence.

Then we teach them how to help future clients best. We call that sales.

Then we teach them how to help a client’s family, friends and coworkers. We call that Affinity Marketing.

Finally, we teach gym owners how to find more people to serve. We call that digital marketing.

We go in that order.

Never: “How many women, aged 25-42 with an average income of $50,000 per year, live in your town?”

Instead: “How can we help Mary?”

In this series, I’ll be writing to you about retaining clients.

The cover of the e-book "Never Lose a Member Again"; a coach tries to hold a fleeing client back with a rope about the waist.

Click the image to get our guide.

Great gym businesses aren’t built on their ability to attract people; great gyms are built on their ability to retain people. And you can’t retain groups: You can retain people in groups by building a 1:1 relationship with each person. You can jump ahead and download our full Retention Guide here.

When I hear things like “churn rate,” “average run rate” or “X,” I know the gym owner has a mindset problem. He or she is trying to grow a service business as if it were a software company. To a software company (or even a product company, like Apple), it doesn’t really matter if you lose a client because you’ll try to get two more next month. Every purchaser is a faceless entity; the brand is the most important personality in the relationship.

But that’s not us. We’re not selling a product. We’re selling service.

 

Focus on the Client

 

The client is the most important personality in our relationship. Every single client.

When I hear, “This client left and took 12 clients with them!” I know it’s because the ringleader had a closer 1:1 relationship with those clients than the coach did. This has happened to me more than once. And every time, it was my fault. Nobody can “steal” my clients, but I can give them away. In this series, I’ll tell you how to stop giving clients away.

You don’t sell group training. You coach people. Sometimes you coach them in a group setting.

Let’s start with that mindset and build on it.

 

Other Articles in This Series

The Cure for Commoditization
Selling Accountability
Ascending Your Clients
Don’t Skip “LEG” Day